An earthquake of about 5.3 on the Richter scale shook northern Bulgaria and parts of Romania at about 8.20pm on April 25 2009.
Initial reports from seismologists said that the epicentre was in the region of Vrancha mountain in Romania, about 145km north east of Bucharest and about 400km from Sofia, with the quake emanating from a depth of about 114km.
Bulgarian National Television (BNT) said that the quake was felt in the Bulgarian cities and towns of Pleven, Varna, Dobrich, Svishtov and Belene. Other Bulgarian-language media said that residents of Rousse, on the Danube bordering Romania, felt the quake “strongly” and some fled high-rise flats.
While in a number of the cities in Bulgaria and Romania that felt the quake, people left their homes to stand in the streets outside, initially there were no reports of serious injuries or damage.
Svishtov residents returned inside after about an hour. The town has vivid memories of 1977, when it was among the places hardest hit by an earthquake in which more than 100 people in the town died, among the more than 1500 Bulgarians and Romanians reported killed at the time by the quake, which also destroyed more than 8000 buildings.
A resident of a Bucharest, severely shaken by the quake told BNT by telephone that people had been frightened at the time of the incident, but calm had returned.